Lumia 920’s video image-stabilization shown in live test. Beats Samsung GS3. Again.

Although Nokia caught some flak for the misleading demonstration of the 920’s camera, we’ve always maintained that optical-image stabilization (OIS) is a very real and proven technology. 

Still, Nokia has some catching up to do to prove to the world just how impressive the 920’s camera can be with OIS on board and as it turns out, the task is simple: just use it.

A Russian site managed to get a meeting with Nokia and to try the 920’s camera in a real-world experiment with the Samsung Galaxy S3. The test? Strap both phones to the top of a remote controlled car, and then drive it all over a bumpy rug.


The magic of the Lumia 920 PureView camera

The video is unedited and uncut, meaning there is no room for fudging here. In fact, you can see the folks having some problems finding and starting the video on the 920 (there looks to have been a few false starts).

But the pay off is worth it. When you see the actual footage of the Lumia 920 it is quite evident that the camera is being stabilized by the mini-springs that surround the camera, allowing for a smooth viewing experience.

There’s little doubt in our mind that we’ll be seeing some excellent videos from users in the coming months with this phone. And OIS isn’t just about video as it affects still photography too, allowing you to attain longer exposures without the handshake that causes image blurriness all too often. Those longer exposures translate into brighter pictures in low-light situations, like restaurants, clubs or even just chilling in your abode.

The moment we’re waiting for: the Nokia Lumia 920’s camera versus the new iPhone 5. That should be fun.


Source: YouTube (TheUltimat111); via Neowin

Daniel Rubino

Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft since 2007 when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, laptops, next-gen computing, and for some reason, watches. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics, watched people sleep (for medical purposes!), and ran the projectors at movie theaters because it was fun.

  • Is pureview software, hardware or both?
  • Both. PureView is Nokia's general name for their advanced, high end photography technology. It's hardware e.g. a 41MP sensor or OIS. It's software (oversampling, advanced software algorithms). But it's not one specific feature, it's the combo of the two working together (hardware and software). Nokia didn't invent OIS, but they're the first to get it small enough for a smartphone camera.
  • It's really complicated to be explained here. But yeah it's hardware and software/algorithms. It's an actual mechanical floating lens inside Lumia 920, first ever fitted to a phone. 
    On Lumia 920 optical image stapilization makes these videos possible, but most impotantly it lets the shutter stay open for extra milliseconds so the sensor gets more light. This means much better pictures without noise in low light situations. 
    That said the tech used in 808 pureView and Lumia 920 is different.  The whole thing can be found from here:
    Lumia 920:
    Nokia 808 PureView: 
  • OIS does not really improve ISO performance of a given sensor. It allows for longer exposures hence gathering more light but at the same time the sensor also produces more noise. Also OIS doesn't help with moving subjects.
    Nokia and all other camera manufacturers have to do additional processing like dark frame substraction and noise filtering to bring noise levels down. Unfortunately this type of processing destroys details causing details to look smudged at certain zoom levels. Nevertheless OIS is the next logical step for smartphonecameras and certainly is of great value in some situations.
  • Just wanted to clarify...while longer shutter times introduce more noise.  You will still see a less noisy image in the results from the Lumia 920.   For the same exposure you'll be able to handhold at a lower ISO/longer shutter speed as opposed to most phones that will just jack the ISO in low light (to achieve an optimal shutter speed).  Overall, you'll see better noise performance in the results.  The benefits of the lower ISO in use will outweigh the noise introduced by longer shutter times in "most" low light situations.
  • Which is partly correct because we don't know how effective the OIS is working in terms of stops we win. But we can make pretty good assumptions because given that the best lens based OIS systems like those in Canon or Nikon DSLR lenses gives you about 4 stops worth of stabilization and that OIS is most effective on tele focal length like 85mm and up and that the l920 has a fixed focal length of 35mm? and that due to missing grip design and the fact that the stabilizing mechanism is very small/has little way to go to compensate for shake that smartphones are extra prone to camera shake we can estimate to gain at max 2 stops.
    These 2 stops (e.g. 1/10th and ISO200 instead of 1/5th and ISO100) absolutely can make a difference and I greatly appreciate this but on the other hand it's also about not setting false expectations.
  • My example is wrong. It's more like ISO100 and 1/15th with OIS instead of ISO200 and 1/30th
  • Thanks for the answers everyone. :-)
  • It is both.
  • Lol
    iPhone 5 vs 920 pics comparison should definitely be fun. Please post that video for us when you stumble on to one? Great fun!
  • Both! =)
  • MINE...
  • Like some commentors on YouTube said, it would have been nice to see the two videos uploaded and played simultaneously.  It would have provided the best comparison.  Also, just to prove and anti-shaking abilities are on on the the SGIII, show it being turned on before you start the test.  Doing these two things should shut up some of the trolls!
  • Anti-shaking for video on the GS3? I know Samsung does anti-shaking for photos (even their WP devices have that) but not video. On photos, it's a software hack that simply ramps up ISO. That results in a quicker exposure but also more noisy, less clean photos. It's like "digital zoom". It works but it's also terrible.
  • I just assumed that it has it on video also considering that it would make the most sense.  Also, I know that it is digitally done unlike with the 920, but comparison's are still best done when both phones have their best settings on for the situation.
    I honestly don't plan on getting any first gen WP8 phones but I am def. a WP guy.
  • This is the reason I will have this phone! Now I don't need to buy a camera too :D
  • +1 for camera. Free music streaming +1000
  • An Apple v NL920 should be interesting. Fanboys and girls will scream 'Rigged'
  • Shotgun the L920
  • I watched 10 times that video and i saw that on samsung phone floor of the room are very bluuur from begining. When real color must be grey.
  • This is a terrible video.  Why doesn't the guy start the videos playing at the same time??
  • No kidding.  The vidoe is more frustrating than enlightening.  I just wanted to take the phone away from him and do it myself.  
  • it was just a matter of editing the video starting on the second part and doing the play correctly.  frustrating
  • If they edit the video people will think there was foul play, no pun intended.
  • What was the unintended pun?
  • "Play." But you're right, that's somewhat of a stretch to be used as a pun.
  • After watching it again, I believe Nokia should pull this video immediately.  It makes it seem like it's impossible to figure out how to play a video on a Nokia phone. 
    If I showed this video to a people, over half would think its to show the Samsung is easier to use.
  • I saw that too but on my wp7 i have a play button i middle of the screen. On the lumia 920 it wasnt there. Does sombody know why?
  • When I go into video mode I see the 00:00 that tells me it's ready.  When I shoot video and stop it, it slides it off to the left side and then shows 00:00 again.  You have to slide it back over from the left. and then you get the play button.
    Looks like maybe he quickly tried to slide it back over and hastily tapped the screen which apparently starts recording.  My WP device doesn't do tap to record, just tap for photo.  So that might have been the cause of the goof.  Some editing would have alleviated this... haha
  • the default screen for the camera is the camera.  You can swipe over to see recent shots.  He did not do this.  Instead he tapped the screen which starts recording.  Then he stopped it and replayed that 2 seconds he just recorded.
  • He's clearly not a WP user.  The fact that he struggled to find the video tells it all.  We know it's simply a swipe to the left.  Took him 25 seconds to figure that one out.
  • Becouse they tapped the screen to start video play but they just began to record another scene. They forgeted to swipe back to filmed scene. It was mistake but they decided no cuting or commposing they published real action
  • Russians and nokia forever
  • wow! what a mess! these guys coundlt just edit the video and do the playing correctly and simultaneously?! ok we can see lumia is better but how far better i coundlt see. 
  • I think the idea was to have NO editing, so you could see from the moment they start recording video on the remote control car to the moment they hit play. If there was editing just for the audience to see them press PLAY at the same time, people would've cried foul saying parts were cut out and that the testers are hiding something.
    The only way to fix this would be a complete reshoot of the test with no editing but hopefully with the tester pressing PLAY on both videos at once
  • haha, I have an sgs3 and I have taken about three lousy photos in the three months I've had it. Also, no dedicated camera button = no photos taken. at least when I take photos with my Sony cybershot I can transfer them to the sgs3 using usb on the go (otg). the L920 could replace both the cybershot and the sgs3. prolly going for 2nd gen WP8, can't wait to test a L920 in the shop though.
  • Thats the biggest problem. You have a phone acamera but no button to trigger it. And everybody knows that a camera is triggered by a button which is most of the time on top of the photographing position. So android and ios messed these things up. They belived that it was better to have it with touch gestures on screens but... Fail.
  • A tech site in germany recently ran the iPhone 5 through all their tests, quite sofisticated ones, and the camera did seem to work fairly good in low light situations. I believe that the Lumia 920 will still be able to outclass it, but from the pictures i have seen taken with the iPhone 5, the difference might not be all that much as i was expecting. Video is still another thing entirely.
    For all interseted, it's, as i said a german site. Btw, not an iPhone fanboy here, just bringing some more details to the discussion.
  • Awesome, taken continuously with another video cam to ensure no editing or other monkey business. This makes it a pretty poor viewing though.
  • Correct. Maybe they need to do another (continuous) shoot with this time the testers having only one video saved so they don't get all confused when is time to press PLAY.
  • The Lumia 920 will be the one to beat when it comes to photo and video. I have no doubts.
  • you damn whiners complaining about no simlutaneous video please shut it.  it is actually better this way cause you can watch one intently then look over and see the same thing with the nokia...especially at the end where it comes to his foot.
  • Agreed. Just play the segment of the video twice. Concentrate on the GSIII clip first, rewind a bit and then watch the 920. There's your comparison. There is no contest whatsoever. 920 DESTROYS the GSIII.
  • Agreed, its was a no contest. GS3 got knocked the phuck out. L920 is the champion.
  • How todo that i was only in the world with lumia 920
  • Note to Russian testers: Try not to take a little 2 second video clip of nothing next time you pick it up. That'll throw you off a bit.
  • Clumsy video on host part, but the proof is in the pudding. There can be no doubt of the smoothness from the L920 vs the unsteady video stream of the SGS 3. Did anyone else get motion sick from watching the SGS 3 vid??? ;-)
  • Not quite motion sickness but yeah, that GS3 video was pretty shaky.
  • wouldnt the ideal test be like driving in a car? and i agree the lumia crushes :D
  • yea no kidding right? makes sense to me as it's common to shoot video from a car to capture something interesting.  I would also like to see it tested on a ferry boat in Toronto, Chicago or NYC.
  • I for one never doubted the tech.
  • Recognizing that I'm late to the game and this comment will largely go unread, there's a significant problem with the way this "test" was done. Since both phones are mounted in the same mount and the GS3 is further away from the clip, it will have additional shake. I'm no physicist, but I do know that things further away from a point of contact will be more affected than objects closer to the point of contact.
    What would have been a better test is if they had rigged up a double mount both extending out from the same point, and had positioned it so that the cameras were the same distance from the central attachment point.
    Nevertheless, the 920 was far better and, even with these adjustments made, I'm sure it would still best the GS3. The adjustments would just help to silence any further criticisms.
  • Well, no one said it was a scientific test. Obviously those will happen in more controlled environments when the device is finalized.  It's still a quick, nice off the cuff demo of the tech though.
  • How good to see test not from the droidsite The verge
  • Friend of mine with iPhone;
    "But... ios is apple....?"
    "Argh... NO, OIS... not ios..."
  • Last night I got into a discussion with my brother and his friend who both work at best buy and both are blind isheep sadly. They were looking up unboxing videos of you guessed it the iphone5. Now I tend to stay out of it but after hearing them say "omg that's so impressive it will have 6 rows of icons now and omg it sooo sexy looking." I tried telling them and showing them videos of the NL920 they just said "that phone is too big and ugly." Then they said "iPhone5 has a simplicity about it that can't be matched." and "Everyone they know has a iPhone" and came up with crazy facts saying "every 7 out of 10 people on the NYC subway had an iphone" and then went on to ask me how many people had a WP even took it as far as saying they pay me 100 bucks ea for every WP we would see on the train -_- then while watching the football Giants game that Samsung commercial ones on. I just LOL they were so mad.. But my point with all this is this is the people who we are up against there is no changing their minds and mind you they work for best buy mobile. This is the kind of crap they preach to customers.
  • I know exactly what you are talking about.
  • Impressive. All those that want an edited video and handed to you on a platter... Shut your filthy mouths. If they did it that way NO one would believe this. Just pretend they started the videos at the same time. You can CLEARLY see the difference. Great video.
  • Damn the 920 looks bigger than the gs3...WOW
  • Probably because it is bigger in the important areas. Height probably matters least but it does matter in all areas. Thickness has a huge effect on pocketability in phones bigger than 3.7 inches. And width has the biggest effect on one handed operations.
    The Lumia loses on the two more important factors but it is a lot shorter. Then again, the GS3 at its tallest spot isn't much of the phone. The lowest curve at the edges are probably closer the height of the Lumia 920 so the height really isn't that much taller either.
    The GS3 really is a brilliant design and it doesn't get enough credit on Apple and Windows sites. Let's hope that the Ativ S takes the great qualitites and improve upon them.
    This is where | feel that Nokia really dropped the ball. In the physcial dimensions and weight aspects. If it was a smaller and lighter phone, there would be no debate. It would be the perfect phone. I honestly would have given up the camera for a thinner phone. I also believe that the wireless charging features really do not add that much weight and size(it doesn't to current Android phones that have the feature). I am guessing it has to be the camera that is the culprit.
  • While it isn't perfect for all hands the form factor is amazing. Have you held one? I thought by the specs it would be a monster but it feels great. The GS3 is an amazing feat as well but giving up an amazing camera in the L920 to save a few mm and ozs would have been a huge mistake as it would have one less stand out feature.
  • Please stop comparing it to other WP8 OEM's . Do it to Motorola flagships.
    /Still getting a L920
  • They uploaded a video demonstrating the low light foto vs a GS3 :
  • You hear that? That's the sound of iPhone users eating their own words.
  • Ha awesome, that's should be the future test for all mobile/cell phones!
  • Hey Samsung, take "note of this!
  • And then GS3 fanboys will say "I can hardly see any difference" or "is this a really necessary feature" or "Nokia sucks"
  • Even if after all the tests on the camera the 920, iphone5 and g3 are even overall the 920 still wins.WIRELESS CHARGING. PWNED.
  • Incredible, fun video. Spasiba to our Russian friends!  Ochen harasho!
  • Pretty impressive.  But now let's strap it to my Tyco Rebound and see what happens!
  • Fantastic!